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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

The Block Party

1. The novel opens with a chaotic scene at the Alton Road annual block party in the present day, and the reader learns that something has occurred, but it’s unclear exactly what happened or who was involved. The next chapter flashes back to the prior block party, one year before the events take place. Did you like going back in time to follow the events that led up to the climax? Did the approach add to the suspense of the story? How else might the book have been structured?

2. How do the online community exchanges from the neighborhood group enhance your reading of the novel? What do they add to the reading experience?

3. How does Lettie’s point of view being the only one in first person (and told in present tense) impact your reading of the novel? What about Alex’s point of view in third person, past tense? Why might the author have chosen to do it this way?

4. Which of the other characters’ points of view do you wish you could have had? Explain.

5. What did you learn from the residents on Alton Road? Did you pick up on any consistent themes or morals in the story? Explain.

6. Every character in this novel withheld the truth in some way. Do you think lying and withholding the truth are the same? Is one more problematic than the other? Are there situations in which it is okay to lie or withhold the truth?

7. Did you have any initial suspicions about who was murdered at the party or who the murderer was? How did you come to those conclusions?

8. What does the block party represent for the people of Alton Road? Why did they still host it despite all of the problems each family was facing?

9. At Friendsgiving, Brooke explains her rationale for being an OnlyFans model. Samir took exception to her choice, thinking it undermined the efforts of the #MeToo movement. What are your thoughts on this?

10. Knowing what you do about the #MeToo movement, how are stories like Mandy’s important and relevant in our society today? What do you think of the way she handled her issues?

11. Were you surprised how the women handled the revelation at the end? Why or why not?

12. Different characters had different motives for revenge. Lettie wanted to get back at Riley. Jay and Mandy wanted revenge on Ken. Were any of them justified in their behavior? What are your thoughts on revenge versus turning the other cheek or granting forgiveness?

13. There is a lot of substance abuse in the novel. Did any of those stories resonate for you? Was Alex’s drinking problem relatable, and did it seem authentic?

14. Did Lettie and Alex both need to hit some sort of bottom to come together? How did their struggles relate to each other?

15. What did you think of Lettie and Jay’s relationship and how it evolved over the course of the story? What did it add to the character development?

16. The novel explores the idea of image versus reality. What can we learn about our world from the difference between the image that each family presents at the block party and the problems they’re facing internally?

17. The novel closes with the line: “If there’s anything more interesting to study than the planet, it’s the people living on it.” Do you agree with this statement? How has this resonated in your life?

The Block Party
by Jamie Day